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Dialogic OD and beyond: Towards New Forms of Organisational Change - Cliff Oswick

Dialogic OD and beyond: Towards New Forms of Organisational Change - Cliff Oswick

Lunchtime Talk: Prof Cliff Oswick, 1 February

The field of Organisation Development (OD) is clearly evolved and developed over the years. The proposed talk will consider the changing nature of OD and distinguish between: traditional OD (i.e. diagnostic approaches); contemporary OD (i.e. dialogic approaches); and, emerging OD (i.e. post-dialogic approaches). It is posited that the very latest strands of OD activity are radically different to earlier incarnations in terms of style, focus and content. They are less structured and hierarchical and more ‘networked’ and ‘bottom-up’ in orientation. Moreover, and unlike diagnostic OD (which focuses on a ‘punctuated past’) or dialogic OD (which focuses on a relatively ‘predictable future’), emerging forms of OD tend to ‘unfold-in-the-present’. And, as such, they are far more dynamic in nature (i.e. emerging via spontaneous, unpredictable and improvised forms of talk and action that develop in real-time). The session will conclude with a discussion of the implications for management, organisations and society-as-a-whole, of a wave of radically different forms of OD intervention.

Tavistock Institute

March 06, 2017
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  1. www.cass.city.ac.uk
    Dialogic OD and Beyond: Towards New
    Forms of Organizational Change

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  2. www.cass.city.ac.uk
    Influences on Change Approaches (based on Marshak, 2010)
    Change
    Source
    Mechanical
    Sciences
    (1900s to
    Present)
    Biological
    Sciences
    (1960s to
    Present)
    Interpretive
    Sciences
    (1980s to
    Present)
    Complexity
    Sciences
    (1990s to
    Present)
    Perspective of
    Organizations
    Determinate,
    closed systems
    Contingent,
    open systems
    Generative,
    meaning making
    systems
    Complex adaptive
    systems
    Intervention
    Focus
    Efficiency, plans,
    structure, IT,
    productivity
    Alignment,
    congruence,
    strategic plans
    Discourse,
    meaning making,
    culture, norms
    Chaos, self-
    organization,
    emergent design
    Change
    Emphasis
    Fix & Re-
    engineer
    Adapt & Re-
    position
    Reframe &
    Rename
    Flux & Emergent
    Facilitation

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  3. www.cass.city.ac.uk
    Old (Diagnostic) OD Approaches
    Change
    Source
    Mechanical
    Sciences
    (1900s to
    Present)
    Biological
    Sciences
    (1960s to
    Present)
    Interpretive
    Sciences
    (1980s to
    Present)
    Complexity
    Sciences
    (1990s to
    Present)
    Perspective of
    Organizations
    Determinate,
    closed systems
    Contingent,
    open systems
    Generative,
    meaning making
    systems
    Complex adaptive
    systems
    Intervention
    Focus
    Efficiency, plans,
    structure, IT,
    productivity
    Alignment,
    congruence,
    strategic plans
    Discourse,
    meaning making,
    culture, norms
    Chaos, self-
    organization,
    emergent design
    Change
    Emphasis
    Fix & Re-
    engineer
    Adapt & Re-
    position
    Reframe &
    Rename
    Flux & Emergent
    Facilitation

    View full-size slide

  4. www.cass.city.ac.uk
    New (Dialogic) OD Approaches
    Change
    Source
    Mechanical
    Sciences
    (1900s to
    Present)
    Biological
    Sciences
    (1960s to
    Present)
    Interpretive
    Sciences
    (1980s to
    Present)
    Complexity
    Sciences
    (1990s to
    Present)
    Perspective of
    Organizations
    Determinate,
    closed systems
    Contingent,
    open systems
    Generative,
    meaning making
    systems
    Complex adaptive
    systems
    Intervention
    Focus
    Efficiency, plans,
    structure, IT,
    productivity
    Alignment,
    congruence,
    strategic plans
    Discourse,
    meaning making,
    culture, norms
    Chaos, self-
    organization,
    emergent design
    Change
    Emphasis
    Fix & Re-
    engineer
    Adapt & Re-
    position
    Reframe &
    Rename
    Flux & Emergent
    Facilitation

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  5. www.cass.city.ac.uk
    Even Newer (Dispersed) OD Approaches
    Change
    Source
    Mechanical
    Sciences
    (1900s to
    Present)
    Biological
    Sciences
    (1960s to
    Present)
    Interpretive
    Sciences
    (1980s to
    Present)
    Complexity
    Sciences
    (1990s to
    Present)
    Perspective of
    Organizations
    Determinate,
    closed systems
    Contingent,
    open systems
    Generative,
    meaning making
    systems
    Complex adaptive
    systems
    Intervention
    Focus
    Efficiency, plans,
    structure, IT,
    productivity
    Alignment,
    congruence,
    strategic plans
    Discourse,
    meaning making,
    culture, norms
    Chaos, self-
    organization,
    emergent design
    Change
    Emphasis
    Fix & Re-
    engineer
    Adapt & Re-
    position
    Reframe &
    Rename
    Flux & Emergent
    Facilitation

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  6. Traditional OD Contemporary OD Emerging OD
    General Approach
    to Change
    Change as a scientific
    process
    Change as a
    discursive process
    Change as a political
    process
    Disciplinary Area
    & Epistemology
    Socio-psychological -
    positivist
    Socio-linguistic –
    constructivist
    Socio-political -
    critical realist
    Focus of Change Negative - Emphasis on
    problems
    Positive - Emphasis on
    improvement
    Neutral - Emphasis on
    possibilities
    Process
    Characteristics
    Reactive, linear and
    punctuated
    Proactive, recursive
    and fluid
    Emergent, rhizomatic
    and spontaneous
    Temporal
    Orientation
    Focus on the past to act
    in the present
    Focus on the future to
    act in the present
    Focus on the present
    to act in the present
    Environmental
    Imperatives
    Relatively stable and
    predictable world
    Competitive and
    rapidly changing world
    Turbulent and socially
    connected world
    Hierarchical
    Ordering
    Top-down (mgt instigate
    & execute)
    Top-down & sideways
    (mgt/emp execution)
    Bottom-up (emp
    instigated)
    Employee Focus Employee performance
    and job enrichment
    Employee involvement
    and empowerment
    Employee engagement
    and emancipation
    Change Logic Change of/for
    employees
    Change with
    employees
    Change by
    employees
    Examples Job Design, Teamwork,
    & Structural Intervention
    AI, Future Search, &
    World Cafe
    Employee Activism &
    Constructive Deviance

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  7. ■ Generational shifts
    ■ Digital Transformation and Connectedness
    Why Now?

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  8. www.cass.city.ac.uk
    Managing Millennials and Generation Z
    Andrew Davidson observes:
    “For traditional employers, Millennials pose new
    problems. Command-and-control is out. Having
    grown up with constant feedback from parents and
    teachers, they want dialogue, not orders, and a
    world of work that offers more opportunity and less
    hierarchy, and always new ways of doing things.”
    Davidson, A. (2014) “How millennial are you?”, Business Life, May,
    pp.18-21.

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  9. So, what can we do?
    ■ Open Space Technology
    ■ Appreciative Inquiry
    ■ World Café
    ■ Future Search
    ■ Corporate Hackathons
    ■ Collaboration Platforms
    ■ Hotspot Engagement
    ■ Internal Crowdsourcing
    ■ Employee Activism
    ■ Reciprocity Rings
    ■ Continuous & Fluid Dialogic Activity

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  10. And, where’s the evidence?
    ■ “Towards Ritualised Autonomy” – Atlassian
    ■ “Beyond 360 Feedback and Appraisals” - BetterWorks
    ■ “The Creation of Flatland” – Valve
    ■ “Doing Holacracy” – Zappos
    ■ “Arrivals Hacking” – British Airways
    ■ “Blurred Crowdsourcing” – Agora
    ■ “Reciprocity Rings” – Headhunters Inc.
    ■ “New Horizon Radicals” – NHS

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  11. BetterWorks
    Transparent and interwoven goals:
    ■ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxODhdOTneE

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  12. NHS Example
    “The Horizons Group is a small team operating at the
    edge of current thinking and practice of change and
    transformation in health and care. Its remit is about
    sharing the disruptive power of connecting to influence
    change, leading edge knowledge, transformation and
    innovation. The aim is to support colleagues in health
    and care to think differently about the ‘rules of change’
    and make sense of it in their own context, leading to
    effective change practice and better outcomes for
    patients” (Bevan & Fairman, 2014:36).

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  13. Innovation, Management and Change
    Dominant Approach Emerging Direction
    Power through hierarchy Power through connection
    Mission and vision Shared purpose
    Making sense through Making sense through
    rationale argument emotional connection
    Leadership-driven (top Viral (grass-roots
    down) innovation driven) creativity
    Tried and tested, based ‘Open’ approaches, sharing ideas
    on experience and data, co-creating change
    Transactions Relationships

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  14. The Toyota Experience
    “Globally known for their systematic processes, Toyota might
    be the last company where you'd expect to find autonomy at
    play among factory workers. Instead, Toyota's leaders created a
    system that gives frontline workers the autonomy to solve
    problems, design their own tools, and create or revise
    processes. Supervisors are there to provide support, not
    answers” (Ludema, 2016).
    “Toyota is a lot like jazz musicians: the players are taught to
    improvise. A framework is provided, but the sheet music
    is not” (Barratt, 2015).
    Barratt (2015) suggests: “Creating a company where
    improvisation can happen is not easy. It requires a unique tool
    set that includes capacity for experimentation, rapid
    information processing, disrupting routines, and maximizing
    autonomy”.

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